Custom sandals? Yes please!
If I could spend money on one thing for the rest of my life, it would probably be shoes 🙂 so it’s no surprise that one of my favorite parts of our time in Greece was visiting the famous POET SANDAL MAKER! This shoe making institution has been in business since 1927 and has mastered the art of the ‘Greek sandal’. Let me dive into why this place is so special…
The Poet Sandal Maker | 2 Aghias Theklas St, Athens 10554, Greece
Even though this shop is very well known around the world (visited by Sarah Jessica Parker, Jacki O, and Paul McCarney!), it’s surprisingly tiny. The walls and ceilings are adorned with hanging sandals, and other leather products. Upon entering, you’re greeted by one of two men working in the shop: the ‘host’ and the ‘Poet Sandal Maker’. Currently, Stavros Melissinos is the owner of the shop, inheriting the business from his father and original poet, Gheorgios. This lineage of Greek culture shows in the quality of the sandals, the feeling of history, and overall experience!
So how do you get your custom pair of sandals? Easy! First, you start with your ‘base’ pair. You have a choice from about 27 styles (shown in the catalog above) which are also displayed up on the wall of the shop. I tried on about 3 styles before choosing my sandal called HERMES. Next, you are fitted for the exact right size for your foot, fitting the correct length and width. For my specific sandal (which had leather straps that wrapped around the top of my foot and then around the ankle), the points of contact on the sole with the straps was measured, and the wide strap around the top of my foot was custom fitted as well. After all measurements, the sandals gets handed off to The Poet!
(^While I chose the Hermes sandal, Kate went with a cute slip-on called ‘Jackie O‘ since this was the sandal Jackie O created when she visited Greece!)
Once the sandals were fitted for my foot, it went to Stavros to actually be made. He first shaved down the leather straps that would wrap around the ankle (to be more comfortable with a rounder edge), and then he glued and nailed the broad leather strap to the sole. You can see the years and years of handling leather and pounding these materials together on Stavros’ hands…someone get this guy a manicure!
(^ When my sandal was first made, this broad strap was a bit too tight; I struggled to get my foot under this piece. So Stavros deconstructed it, stretched, adjusted the leather, and made it the perfect size. Amazing right? I wish all my shoes could be fitted for me)
Not only did we get to walk away with a beautiful pair of custom, leather, Greek sandals, but I felt like we got to experience a little slice of history. These sandals are something you’ll want to keep forever, and actually only get better with age. The leather will darken, and form even closer to your foot shape as you wear them more.
If you’re traveling to Athens, you MUST visit the Poet Sandal Maker! This is such a special experience and something you’ll remember forever. Even though you can only get these sandals in Athens, I’ve linked some of my favorite Greek styles below for you to shop! And to get my full outfit worn in this post, visit my last Athens post here to shop.